Men’s fashion week embraces authenticity
Emerging and established designers showed off themed threads
THE arrival of the new year and the old narrative of London as a global metropolis with an identity deeply woven into its designs was evident at London Fashion Week Men’s.
So it was of little surprise that, last weekend, passionate questions around authentic presentations of self and voice, as well as explorations of artifice and mirage, were front and centre on the runway. Here’s what shone through.
Next-generation stars grew up
This season, the stakes were raised by some of the brightest young talents on the fashion week calendar: recognition, perhaps, of a need to boost their credibility outside their home base.
Case in point: Charles Jeffrey Loverboy. The latest collection, entitled and showcased in a dilapidated Victorian power station on the banks of the River Thames, was inspired by a first edition of with a heady dose of 1920s cabaret culture thrown in.
Amid prancing actors, shattered chandeliers and baths filled with books, came bold, oversize tartan suits and exquisite embroidered coats; colourful graphic mohair sweaters; and dramatic scarlet evening gowns, either oneshouldered with a dropped waist or sleeveless with a full tiered skirt.
Jeffrey’s prodigious talent was visible in both cut and construction, as was an effort to make his often outrageous styles more accessible.
The same could not be said of Art School. The designers Eden Loweth and Tom Barratt said they had been
Darling Little Sillies
The Story of Peter Pan, picturing models on the way to the opera, but it was still hard to imagine the exuberant explosion of silk slips, wobbly stilettos, hacked-up sweatshirts and bottom-skimming metallic tuxedos as actual clothes.
More commercial was Edward Crutchley, who showed a highly appetising collection he termed “business wear with bite” and “expensive elegance.”
Think sleek tailored evening looks for both sexes including pinstriped suits and luxurious cashmere knits, printed lounge pyjamas and silky cigarette pants; all careful, considered and admirably grown-up.
Technology grew in importance
“Fashion has overdone nostalgia in an attempt to cash in on your impossible longing for a perfect you and perfect time, that doesn’t exist now and actually never did.”
So read the show notes of Liam Hodges, a London men’s wear favourite, whose kaleidoscopic collection of tracksuits and T-shirts was inspired by the growing pains of “modern day cyborgs,” touching on ideas around evolving online and offline identities.
It was a theme also plumbed by Cottweiler, designed by Matthew Dainty and Ben Cottrell.
Techy tracksuits and multipocket outerwear in verdant hues, laden with cheeky touches like open flies, midriff hints and bottom-skimming zips, were framed by a 10-piece capsule collection of sleek raincoats made with the Italian label Allegri.
Big names returned
Also adding richness: Craig Green’s beautiful designs rooted around timeless, nomadic men continue to earn him admiration.
Belted trench coats in black, blues and earthy reds had an enveloping, cocoon-like quality, while a series of long-sleeved tees and trousers in tightly elasticated plastic scales came with billowing hoods to match.
Finally, new communities were created Christopher Raeburn celebrated his 10th anniversary this season by revisiting and reimagining some of his most popular creations – fitting given his brand’s “remade, reduced, recycled” ethos.
Staples of his utilitarian street wear aesthetic, like typhoon suits, oversize khaki parkas and patchwork tracksuits, were shown in new and innovative materials on an army of models.
David Beckham, an owner of Kent and Curwen, the British heritage men’s wear brand, wheeled out his wife, Victoria, his eldest son, Brooklyn, and other key members of the clan for a slap-up breakfast on Sunday morning, the better to debut a capsule collaboration with the BBC television series
There were classic three-piece tweed suits, signature collarless shirts, and peg-leg wool trousers – all in autumnal tones – alongside a motley mix of rugby shirts, Crombie coats, argyle sweaters and striped skinny suits.
Also flat caps, which, Beckham admitted, “I got from my granddad. I wore his from a very young age.” And now?
“Brooklyn has taken it on as well.”